Buchteln (German Sweet Dumplings)

Buchteln or German Sweet Dumplings are pillowy soft rolls made from a buttery yeast dough and filled with fresh fruit or jam. Sometimes known as Rohrnudeln, my Buchteln recipe is a family favourite. Serve these sweet yeast rolls with plenty of vanilla custard sauce. Yum!

Buchteln, or German Sweet Yeast Dumplings are one of Germany’s best kept secrets. Not as famous outside the country as flashier dishes like Black Forest Cake or Bee Sting Cake, these soft, fruit filled rolls made from hefeteig are seriously delicious.

Don’t be concerned if you’ve never made a yeast dough before, my step-by-step Buchteln recipe is super easy to follow! And you can trust me, after one bite of your first homemade Buchtel you’ll be wanting to make them again and again.

Buchteln German Sweet Dumplings filled with fresh cherries and served with vanilla sauce

What are Buchteln?

Buchteln are a type of German dumpling, made from an enriched yeast dough and stuffed with fresh fruit or jam. These sweet rolls have a light and airy texture and are popular right throughout Germany, Austria, Hungary and the Czech Republic.

in Southern Germany they are sometimes known as Rohrnudeln, and they are often served with a big jug of vanilla custard sauce.

Fresh dark cherries sliced on a plate

While it may seem like a classic dessert to many, Buchteln are often served as a main course (especially to children!) and sometimes even have a savoury filling of onions and meat. I like mine stuffed with fresh summer cherries or plums and dusted with plenty of powdered sugar.

Ingredients

Buchteln are made from an enriched yeast dough, a little like brioche but without so much butter. To make them you’ll need these main ingredients:

  • Whole Milk: This is what makes the yeast dough beautifully soft.
  • Yeast: It’s traditional to use fresh yeast to make Buchteln, but they work perfectly with active dried yeast too.
  • Sugar: This is a sweet treat after all, using sugar cubes makes filling the dumplings much easier.
  • Flour, butter and eggs: the building blocks of the dough
  • Orange zest and fresh cherries: For fruity flavour. See below for some other filling options.

How to make Buchteln

There’s not a lot of hands on time making Buchteln, but you’ll need a couple of hours to give the yeast dough time to rise.

  1. First, mix up my simple enriched yeast dough in the bowl of a stand mixer. Cover an allow to rise for one hour.
  2. When the dough has risen, divide into 6 equal pieces, fill with fresh fruit and sugar or fruit jam, then shape and allow to rise again in a greased baking pan.
  3. Next, brush with melted butter and and bake until well risen and golden brown.
  4. Lastly, dust with icing sugar and serve warm with custard or vanilla sauce.
Risen Buchteln in a baking dish

Variations

I like to fill my Buchteln with fresh cherries or plums. They also work wonderfully with other soft fruit like strawberries or apricot. In the winter months they are traditionally stuffed with plum jam or fruit preserves (in which case you can skip the sugar cube). Austrian Buchteln are often filled with Marillenmarmalade, a type of apricot jam.

Experiment and see which filling you like best! It’s not at all traditional, but I suspect they would be delicious stuffed with chocolate or hazelnut spread like Nutella.

Storage

These sweet buns keep for a day or two at room temperature, but they are most delicious on the day of baking or the following day. The unbaked yeast dough will keep for 2-3 days, well covered in the fridge. If you find your Buchteln have gone stale, either rewarm them in a low oven, or tear them up and use them to make Bread and Butter Pudding.

Don’t be scared of Hefeteig!

Every good German cook will have their own special Hefeteig or yeast dough recipe. This incredibly versatile dough forms the building blocks of loads of German recipes. Once you learn to make Hefeteig, you’ll be on your way to making Krapfen, Bienenstich, donuts, and more. My easy recipe below is tried and tested, so perfect for beginners.

Remember when working with yeast dough that it will rise best in a warm environment. If your dough isn’t rising it may be that your yeast has expired (check the use by date) or that the room is too cold. Try to let dough rise in a warm place like near (not on!) a radiator, or near a sunny window.

Buchteln German Sweet Dumplings filled with fresh cherries and served with vanilla sauce

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Can I freeze Buchteln?

Yes, though they are best fresh. I’ve reduced the quantities of this recipe to make just 6, and I’ll bet they all get eaten up!

Can I use vanilla extract instead of vanilla sugar?

Yes, you’ll need to reduce the amount of milk by an equal quantity, otherwise the dough will be too wet.

Do I have to have a kitchen machine or food processor to make Buchteln?

Not at all! You’ll just need to knead them by hand. As this is quite a wet dough, it’s best to use a wooden spoon to start kneading until the dough isn’t quite so sticky anymore.

Buchteln German Sweet Dumplings filled with fresh cherries and served with vanilla sauce
Buchteln German Sweet Dumplings filled with fresh cherries and served with vanilla sauce

German Sweet Dumplings – Buchteln

Jay Wadams
Buchteln, or Rohrnudeln are a much loved German recipe for sweet dumplings made from yeast dough, stuffed with fruit or jam, brushed in lots of butter and then baked. They are incredibly moreish and can be filled basically with whatever you like – I like plums, apricots or cherries.
4.75 from 4 votes
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Rising Time 1 hour
Total Time 2 hours
Serves 16 dumplings

Ingredients
 

  • 200 ml whole milk
  • 21 g fresh yeast, 7g / 1 sachet dry yeast
  • 550 g plain or all-purpose flour
  • 75 g sugar
  • zest of 1 orange
  • generous pinch of salt
  • 100 g unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 250 g cherries, pitted
  • 16 sugar cubes, or spoons of sugar
  • 50 ml butter, melted
  • icing sugar

Instructions
 

  • WARM MILK: Begin by warming the milk slightly, it should be comfortable to hold your finger in it. Remove from the heat, crumble over the yeast, mix well and set aside.
  • MAKE DOUGH: In the bowl of a stand mixer, or by hand, combine the flour, sugar, orange zest and salt. Pour in the milk and yeast mixture and add the butter and egg. With your hands, or using the dough hook attachment, knead for about ten minutes. The mixture may stick to the sides of the bowl – if so, add extra flour, one tablespoon at a time until the dough moves freely in the bowl.
  • FIRST RISE: After ten minutes, shape the dough into a ball, (it should feel soft, springy and elastic), put back into the bowl, cover with a clean cloth and allow to rise for 45 minutes to an hour until almost doubled in size.
  • PREPARE FRUIT: Meanwhile pit the cherries or halve and stone other fruit. Butter a 20 x 30cm high sided baking dish.
  • DIVIDE DOUGH: Remove the dough from the bowl, knock out the air and divide in two. Reserve one half for a second batch of dumplings then divide the remaining dough into eight equal-sized pieces.
  • SECOND RISE: Flatten each piece, then place a few cherries i in the middle of each, stuff with 1-2 sugar cubes per dumpling, then wrap the dough around and pinch tightly to seal. Cover and leave to rise for 15 minutes while you heat the oven to 180°C / 350°F / Gas 4.
  • BAKE: Place the dough balls, sealed side down in the baking dish, brush over all of the melted butter and bake for 30-40 minutes until risen and golden brown.
  • SERVE: Dust liberally with icing sugar before serving warm.

Notes

This recipe makes enough dough for 16 dumplings which is a generous amount. You can reserve half the dough for another use by freezing, or it will keep, well covered for 2-3 days in the fridge.

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Nutrition

Serving: 1dumpling | Calories: 253kcal | Carbohydrates: 40g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 0.3g | Cholesterol: 32mg | Sodium: 30mg | Potassium: 122mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 13g | Vitamin A: 381IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 27mg | Iron: 2mg
Tried this recipe?Leave a review or a star rating and let me know how it was! Use the hashtag #daysofjay on Instagram so I can see your delicious creations.
Course | Baking
Cuisine | Bavarian
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Jay Wadams
Jay Wadams

Jay Wadams is a cookbook author, food photographer and Le Cordon Bleu Gastronomy and Nutrition graduate. Based in Italy 🇮🇹 Germany 🇩🇪 and Australia 🇦🇺.

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